Joc Pederson’s Fantasy Doppelgänger

Finding doppelgänger’s for up and coming players can go a long way to giving us perspective and a dose of reality to everyone’s love for baseball’s rookie class. For those who do not know or if you have never seen the movies Gattaca or The Prestige , a doppelgänger is a double, a mirror image, a carbon copy, a twin, Sam Merchant/Amanda Merchant. You get the picture and you are welcome for the Merchant image that just popped into your head.

As the resident Dodger fan among the Fantasy Assembly crew, it is only fitting that the first of this doppelgänger series I will release over the next few weeks features a player set to call the confines of Chavez Ravine home in 2015. Last year the youth hype train brought our attention to the likes of hyped outfielders George Springer and Gregory Polanco. 2015’s leading man in this category is going to be one Joc Russell Pederson. Seeing as how the Dodgers appear to be clearing space for Pederson to take over their center field job right out of Spring Training I will even suggest to you that this crazy hype train is about to go all Ozzy Osbourne on us and fly completely off the rails.

In the early going, it appears that Pederson’s ADP is going to be reasonable. Something between picks 200 and 275 feels about right for where Pederson should be considered in 2015 drafts. The scary thing is that in eight completed NFBC Slow Drafts, he’s already going off the board in that range (269 ADP) and has been selected as high as 195 overall. This was all before the Dodgers sent Matt Kemp packing south to San Diego, clearing space for Pederson in Los Angeles.

Pederson, who will be 23 years old in April, is coming off the first 30/30 season the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League (PCL) has seen since 1934. Hitting in the PCL would be like having NBA D-League players using 8-foot rims or having NCAA quarterbacks throwing a Nerf Vortex football. Either way, fantasy baseball drafters are drawn to the potential power/speed contributors and nobody wants to miss out on a player who could be the next Mike Trout. Aside from his slash line of .303/106/33/78/30 Pederson also managed to finish with an eye-popping .435 on base percentage in the PCL. Oh yeah, Pederson solved world hunger and passed the Bar examination in his spare time too. Mike Trout who?

Speaking of Mike Trout, he’s just one of a mix of players I could see as a possible comparison for what we could expect from Joc Pederson now and in the future. The others are Grady Sizemore as well as the good and bad versions of BJ Upton. To throw one more possibility at you for what we might be able to expect from Pederson I’ll also include a hybrid of what George Springer and Gregory Polanco gave us in their abbreviated 2014 MLB time. Here’s a look at some recent stat lines from these possible comparisons as well as what Pederson pulled off at AAA in 2014.

  PA HR Avg. BABIP OBP K% BB% SB CS
Pederson’s 2014 AAA Season 553 33 .303 .385 .435 26.9% 18.1% 30 13
Trout’s 2014 716 36 .287 .349 .377 26.1% 11.8% 16 2
Sizemore’s 2005 706 22 .289 .334 .348 18.7% 18.7% 22 10
BJ Upton’s 2011 640 23 .243 .298 .331 25.2% 11.1% 36 12
BJ Upton’s 2014 582 12 .208 .286 .287 29.7% 9.8% 20 7
Springer/Polanco 2014 Hybrid 657 27 .233 .282 .329 26.3% 10.5% 19 7

 

Could Joc Pederson match the 2014 AL MVP version of Mike Trout?

PA HR Avg. BABIP OBP K% BB% SB CS
Trout’s 2014 716 36 .287 .349 .377 26.1% 11.8% 16 2

For the obvious reasons I want to tell you off the bat that Joc Pederson’s 2015 statistical doppelgänger will not be Mike Trout. In just three short years, Trout has already altered his impressive well-rounded game. He hits for more power now than in either of his first two full seasons and picks and chooses his moments to swipe the occasional base with a high success rate. Hitting for power in any west coast stadium is difficult to say the least. Look at what Robinson Cano’s move to Seattle did to his HR output. Cano averaged 27.8 HR the previous five seasons playing in New York and only managed to hit 14 in Seattle this past season. Three seasons ago, Albert Pujols signed on to play with the Angels. In those three seasons, Pujols has posted the three lowest HR totals of his career. Pederson had it good in Albuquerque this past season and playing his games in the NL West will sap a decent amount of his power. Furthermore, the way the Dodgers lineup is taking shape, Pederson will not likely have a prime spot in the order. He will lack lineup protection and lose at bats in comparison to a hitter of Trout’s stature. 

For 2015, I could see Pederson topping Trout’s SB total and he should post a better BB% as well. The added base on balls will likely keep Pederson’s OBP respectable but Trout’s .377 mark is probably out of reach for 2015. Otherwise, Pederson is also likely to fall far short of Trout’s HR, R, RBI, and AVG outputs as well. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with our expectations for the LAD rookie.

Could Joc Pederson be the new Grady Sizemore?

PA HR Avg. BABIP OBP K% BB% SB CS
Sizemore’s 2005 706 22 .289 .334 .348 18.7% 18.7% 22 10

2005 was Sizemore’s first full MLB season. The most obvious similarities here exist in that both Pederson and Sizemore are lefty bats and they are similarly sized players. Sizemore checks in at 6’2, 200 pounds. Pederson finished the 2014 season at 6’1, 185 pounds and given his age there’s reason to believe he has room to fill out even more. Through Sizemore’s most productive seasons he consistently posted decent contact rates. From 2005-2009 Sizemore’s highest K% was 20.7%. Pederson has seen his K% go up at each level from 16.2% in A-ball, to 22% in AA, to 26.9% in AAA, and finally to 28.9% in his brief 38 PAs at the MLB level this past September.

In this 2005 season highlighted for Grady Sizemore, he tallied a slash line of 111/22/81/22/.289. The 111 Runs is simply not going to be attainable for Joc Pederson in 2015. Assuming the K% will take time to come down, I also think the .289 batting average is out of reach for Pederson as well. Where I do think Pederson can match Sizemore’s 2005 performance is in both home runs and stolen bases. For leagues that use OBP, the .348 number put up by Sizemore is probably a bit out of reach for Pederson because of the K% he’s likely to accrue in 2015. They do have a similar penchant for taking free passes and that should help Pederson get on base at a respectable rate as I mentioned in the Trout comparison. What I think Sizemore’s 2005-2009 run represents is the best case scenario for Pederson’s peak years during his career. Hopefully that will be a career without the health concerns Sizemore has had to endure.

Could Joc Pederson be good BJ Upton or bad BJ Upton?

PA HR Avg. BABIP OBP K% BB% SB CS
BJ Upton’s 2011 640 23 .243 .298 .331 25.2% 11.1% 36 12
BJ Upton’s 2014 582 12 .208 .286 .287 29.7% 9.8% 20 7

Now we are getting close for what to expect in 2015 for Pederson. BJ Upton’s lines from 2011 and 2014 represent the closest examples of the ceiling and floor for what Joc Pederson has in store for fantasy owners in 2015. BJ Upton’s 2011 performance is well within reach across the board with exception to the 36 stolen bases which look to be a tad much to expect for Pederson. The elder Upton had 82 runs and 81 RBI in that 2011 season and even those numbers seem possible if Pederson is going to get a full season’s worth of ABs. You might look at the .243 batting average and think that seems a little low for Pederson’s ceiling but without significant improvement to his K% I would be shocked if he topped a .260 batting average in 2015 and could easily see him falling short of .250.

Unfortunately, the floor performance BJ Upton displayed in 2014 is also a very real possibility for Joc Pederson in 2015. I would like to believe that Pederson will exceed the .286 BABIP and 9.8% walk rate, which will likely lead to better than the 67 runs and 35 RBI BJ Upton put up in 2014. Just be aware of what things could look like if Pederson bottoms out. A trip back to AAA is always a possibility if Pederson struggles too much with his plate discipline.

Could a Polanco/Springer hybrid be the most likely outcome for Pederson in 2015?

PA HR Avg. BABIP OBP K% BB% SB CS
Springer/Polanco 2014 Hybrid 657 27 .233 .282 .329 26.3% 10.5% 19 7

The hybrid of George Springer and Gregory Polanco looks a lot like the good BJ Upton minus some stolen bases in exchange for a handful of home runs. What I really want to focus on here is where Springer and Polanco were selected in 2014 drafts, especially Springer. Going into the 2014 draft season both of these players had similar hype to what we are soon to see for Joc Pederson. Springer’s 228 ADP through ESPN’s Live Draft Results is likely a good over/under starting point for where we might see Pederson selected once the 2015 draft season is in full launch.

As for the hybrid stat line you see above, I think everything looks about right for what Pederson might give us in 2015, minus 5-10 HR. The Springer/Polanco hybrid managed to produce 95 run and 84 RBI which are both possibly out of reach for Pederson in 2015. Most of those runs accumulated by Springer and Polanco came from a more preferential lineup slot than Pederson is likely to land in Los Angeles this coming season.

Building Joc Pederson’s Doppelgänger:

From the comparisons focused on here, it would appear that the most likely Pederson doppelgänger is going to be Upspringolanco. Microsoft Word hates me but that is not a typo. The most likely outcome for Joc Pederson in 2015 is going to be something of a triple hybrid of the good BJ Upton and the Springer/Polanco combo from 2014. Upspringolanco! What you should take from this is that the hype is real and Pederson should be factor in fantasy baseball leagues of all sizes in 2015. Because the bad BJ Upton is still a possible outcome for Pederson where you choose him in your drafts will be crucial. For my liking, anything after pick 200 is within reason. At an ADP beyond 200 it will not be too painful if Pederson is a bust and you have to cut him in May or June. A chance at a 20/20 season beyond pick 200 is fantasy gold. However, if your opponents get too caught up in the hype and start selecting Pederson closer to pick 150 where Polanco is currently going in early NFBC drafts (ADP of 142) then the risk is probably not worth it.

Joc Pederson’s 2015 Slash Line Projection
72/19/68/18/.235 in 600 Plate Appearances

Joc Pederson’s Projected ADP for Standard 5×5 Leagues: 215

5 thoughts on “Joc Pederson’s Fantasy Doppelgänger”

  1. Don’t forget Ron, it was well established that Springer would start 2014 in the minors. If Pederson is in fact projected to be an opening day starter, I expect his ADP to be in the 125 range. Springer might have been top 100 with an opening day gig.

    1. While that is a good point, Tommy, I do not see an ADP of 125 happening. That said, differing opinions are a good thing! From my perspective, even though Pederson’s pedigree is high, Springer’s pedigree was off the charts. I think if the Dodgers can move one of Carl Crawford or Andre Ethier, Pederson’s ADP will get into the 175 range. Up until March 20, 2014 there was still some hope of Springer making the opening day roster. For a big portion of the 2014 draft season people still had hope for a full season from Springer. Also, there’s still a chance that Pederson might not make the Dodgers’ opening day roster if he struggles in Spring as he did in his September call up. Remember that there’s a new regime in LA, one that likes to maximize a player’s controllable years. I would not be at all shocked if the Dodgers found an excuse to wait until May to fully launch the career of Joc Pederson ala the Angels with Mike Trout or the Nationals with Bryce Harper. I’m sticking by my ADP prediction of 215 and will bump it to 175 if another significant Dodger outfielder is moved. My projection is for what I see Pederson doing in 600 ABs and I would pro-rate that slash line to whatever amount of ABs he will ultimately earn.

  2. I know last year in my keeper league, Springer went off the board with the first pick in round 16 (181), Addison Russell went 3 picks later (184), Syndergaard went with the second pick of round 14 (158) and Javier Baez went with the first pick in round 18 (205).
    And, in our MBBRL, I took Springer with the 9th pick in round 16 (189).

    All of them were slated to start in the minors but all went between the 125 and 215 you each predicted. I guess it comes down to the type of league you are in and the experience of the owners. In standard redraft leagues, I can’t see him going before round 15 (180) unless he is guaranteed full time at bats.

  3. Billy Hamilton was a top 60 pick last year with less experience than Pederson has now. Those other guys were drafted so late because they started the year in the minors.

    If he starts in the majors, the hype will carry his ADP way earlier than where any of us would hope to land him.

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